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Today we’re shining a spotlight on data from J.D. Williams and Company about ageism at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ageism in Hollywood: Are over-50s represented at the Oscars?

It’s getting closer to Oscars weekend, so today we’re shining a spotlight on the data analysis conducted by J.D. Williams and Company regarding some serious ageism happening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The question of diversity has cropped up many times in the Academy’s history. In 2016, critics pointed out no non-white actors were nominated for two years running, leading to a series of anti-whiteout protests and #OscarsSoWhite to trend on Twitter.

The Academy attempted to address these issues by promising to expand and diversify its ranks, and as a result in 2017 seven of the twenty acting nominees were from ethnic minority backgrounds, up from the previous record of five. Furthermore, the Best Picture nominations included Moonlight, a film that tells a black & gay story, while Hidden Figures is black & feminist.

With regards to the Academy, it certainly seemed the record was beginning to change. However, last year’s representation at the Oscars of Asian and Latino directors & writers remained low, and very few women were voted in a non-acting category.

We’re now posing a whole new question to the people.

Are the #OscarsSoAgeist?

For their Oscar nom research, J.D. Williams gathered data from 2015 – 2019 and analyzed all the nominees for the main categories and the individual ages of those nominees. The questions they posed were:

  • How many over-50s have been nominated for Oscars in the last five years?
  • Has the average age of an Oscar nominee changed in the last five years?
  • How many nominations have there been for women over 50 compared to men over 50?  

Here’s what they found

  • Historically there have always been more men aged 50+ nominated than women aged 50+.
  • The mean age of Oscar nominees has been slowly increasing since 2015.
  • The age of Oscar nominees was at its highest in 2018, the average age being 51 years old.
  • There have never been more than two female winners aged over 50 during one year.
  • The mean age of Oscar winners was the highest it’s ever been (over the last 10 years) in 2018, the average age being 56 years old.

Let us know in the comments if you think The Oscars are ageist.

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